It’s not often that you find headphones that combine fantastic looks with great sound; fewer still are able to do so at a reasonable price. The new Atlas on-ear headphones from MEElectronics are one set of headphones that I think fits this bill perfectly, utilizing a incredibly intricate design on the exterior and marrying that with premium sound and a tiny price tag of $99.99. But don’t just take my word for it, let’s take a closer look at theÂ MEElectronics Atlas IML Graphics On-Ear Headphones.
- The Atlas headphones
- A 1.2m audio cable with in-line mic and controls
- A carry bag
Time and time again, I’ve said that I’m a sucker for headphones that have a carry bag included and MEElectronics doesn’t disappoint, as usual. Probably the best thing about this bag is while it looks and feels pretty silky, it’s actually made from cloth that’s quite elastic making it perfect for travel, quickly removing or replacing your headphones, and just general daily use.
The headphones If I said I wasn’t in love with the Atlas’ appearance, I would be telling a big fat lie. The very first thing you will notice about the Atlas headphones, and the thing that is undoubtedly its highlight, are its looks, particularly of the “Orion” themed headphones that we have here. You might be thinking, why did MEElectronics bother with such an intricate design if it’s just going to be rubbed off? Well, MEElectronics has a solution to that, and it has to do with something called IML printing. IML, or in-mold labelling, printing is a process that MEElectronics has employed for the Atlas headphones to give them their striking designs as well as ensuring that these designs don’t degrade over time. The IML process allows designs to be added to the headphones as they are being constructed, allowing the design to go in before layers of gloss are added, allowing the designs to be shown in all their glory. The process does slow manufacturing time down a little, but as you can see, the results might just be worth it. The result of this is a line of fantastic looking headphones which turn heads for all the right reasons. Apart from the Orion design that we have here, the Atlas also comes in Diamond, Sky, Fantasy and Carbon designs which all look great in their own right. As a tech enthusiast, I can’t help but favour the Orion with its electronics-esque, wire design that is actually somewhat subtle, but very pretty, though I have to say that these press photos somewhat embellish the finish of the Atlas which is far glossier than these pictures might have you believe. As with many of MEElectronics’ headphones, the Atlas are collapsible making them into a much smaller bundle. This is always convenient for those who travel and have limited space available for storage. In this collapsed state, the Atlas fits perfectly into the provided carry bag, along with the audio cable, and away you go. Thanks to its lightweight, plastic construction, the Atlas is remarkably light, which again adds to the list of benefits when travelling with these headphones. The Atlas is of course a wired set of headphones with a detachable audio cable provided. The in-line controls on the cable are very basic, but functional, with an answer call button, a volume slider and an embedded mic for your convenience. These are exactly the same in-line controls that were utilized on the MEElectronics M9p earphones (read that review here) and my comments remain the same here as for when I made them earlier; the grooved volume slider is a really nice touch as it makes one-handed operation easy, though I still question the overall size of the remote as a whole given that the mic is painstakingly designed to be tucked away within the volume slider. MEElectronics has again opted to include a flat audio cable with its audio products, with the primary benefits of which include reduced tangling and the reduced risk of wire degradation over time as the cables undergo daily stresses. The two tone effect of the cable is interesting too, whether it is purely aesthetic or functional as well is unclear, but it does make for a nice visual addition.
The comfort I’ve never been a huge fan of on-ear headphones: I feel that it’s generally quite hard to get the right fit depending on your ear shape. My ears are slightly mismatched though, which probably explains my general attitude towards them. Unfortunately, the Atlas doesn’t quite do enough to discourage my perspective of on-ear headphones. As you’ll see, the earcups are shaped in a general ‘ear’ form, which should ideally work, however if your ears aren’t quite the right shape, it becomes a little difficult to get a good fit while wearing them.
While the leather-clad cushions are soft and comfortable enough, it’s the earcups as a unit that let down the whole setup as they aren’t as mobile (or articulated) as they need to be. What ends up happening is that because the earcups can’t turn backwards far enough, the earcups press your ears into your head, which is mildly uncomfortable after several hours of listening (about 3-4 hours). I’m not sure if this is a result of my using the highest extension on the headphone arms, but your experience may vary.
The headband is similarly made of foam and soft leather, but as the Atlas is so light overall, you will barely feel the headband there at all. Overall, I would have to say that the Atlas is quite comfortable. While my experience was less than stellar, it is still a very light pair of headphones and as such takes a much longer time for any discomfort to appear, if there is any at all.
If the appearance of the Atlas is its definitive highlight, then the audio quality has to be a very close second. MEElectronics has obviously worked very hard to give the Atlas the best quality sound out of its 40mm drivers; for the record, the Beats Solo HD headphones also uses 40mm drivers, which will become important later in the review.
The best thing about the Atlas’ audio is the fact that it provides a balanced range; playing pop music, the treble and bass ranges sound great and particularly the bass which sounds full without being overpowering. Moving to classical music, everything was sharp and well articulated, with the high pitches coming through really well, something bassier sets of headphones tend to ignore or neglect; whatever you’re listening to, the Atlas will make it sound clear and crisp. Being an on-ear pair of headphones, they still seem to lack the depth that is afforded to over-ear headphones, but as far as I’m concerned, these are the best sounding on-ear headphones I’ve ever tried.
Call quality when using the Atlas as a headset is as good as you can expect, and I didn’t get any complaints about the audio quality. As the inline remote does hang though, if you’re in a particularly noisy environment, you will have to hold the mic closer to your face. Â On the topic of noisy environments, the Atlas has no active noisy cancellation, nor does it do a terribly good job of keeping noise out either. Obviously, though, as you turn up your music, you will manage to drown out the outside sound, but some noise leakage will occur.
TheÂ MEElectronics Atlas IML Graphics On-Ear Headphones are a fantastic all-round set of headphones; great sound and even better looks, they’ve got almost everything you’ll need from a set of headphones, and it comes with mobile capabilities to boot. While your comfort with them may vary, you won’t be disappointed with the overall practicality of them, staying light and portable, making them a great travel companion.
You may recall that I mentioned the Beats Solo HD earlier in the review saying they had the same sized audio drivers. While the Beats may have a little more technical mumbo jumbo going on, I think the Beats and Atlas have almost equivalent audio quality. This makes the MSRP of the Beats at $199 seem ludicrous when you compare it to the Atlas which costs only $99.99 USD.Â Once again, MEElectronics has done it, combining great sound, great looks and great value.
If you want to take a closer look at theÂ MEElectronics Atlas IML Graphics On-Ear Headphones, you can visit the product page here, or if you would like to take a look at MEElectronics’ other products, you can visit their website front page here.
Gallery of Photos